Both Walter White of AMC’s Breaking Bad and Don Draper of Mad Men are driven and successful businessmen. Each have their unique quarks that make them tick. Both create products for the marketplace and both work to find bigger clients. Marketers, account managers, and entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from these men.
Walter White is motivated by the welfare of his family and is successful because he has developed his craft and found a market need for his products. He was able to analyze the existing market, believe in himself, test product feasibility, and deliver an amazing product that clients keep coming back for. The story of Breaking Bad is really that of an American businessman that has to make choices. He ended up with a vastly successful empire and more money than he knew what to do with but the meat of his story comes at the beginning.
Toward the formation of his career as a cook he always had his mind where it should be; on delivering the best possible product. At the end of the day, his goal was to always ensure that quality was the main focus and that other elements would fall into place. White was a master of delegation. He defined clear roles to his partners and was an excellent sales person of ideals and motivator to inspire his cohorts to join the cause no matter what. Walter White had his priorities straight when it came to business.
It goes without saying there were some bumps along the way. He did whatever it took to make sure his product got into customers hands and make the right connections to grow his business. When times are tough it is essential to have a strong company mantra and motivation set in place so that you do not loose sight of your goals. White was not totally driven by money. “I’m in the empire business”, said White. Building an empire takes years of hard work and a high level of constant focus. Managing people, hiring, and firing are all part of business. White always played to his strengths and let others play to theirs. From distribution, “human resources”, sales, to product development, all elements were delegated properly. His skill with managing his superior product, not falling to compromise, finding a market, and networking led White to a vast empire and commanded great respect and wealth. When speaking to Gus, White said “I have more money than I know what to do with” and that he has made his decisions for the good of his family.
Don Draper is no stranger to marketing. He plays on the ultimate wall-street mantra of more is more. From fancy cars, dashing clothes, beautiful women, he knows how to roll to keep up a persona, command respect, and keep clients interested. Many sales people think keeping a flashy car is important to show clients that doing business with them means success, this has worked with Don Draper but there is a fundamental difference. Not only is he smart but he delivers results consistently and goes the extra mile. A flashy car might get people’s attention but to keep their interest and business you need talent and Draper has it.
His sales prowess is uncompromisable and because of this he has great value. Draper often does what is needed to keep his business alive and invests his own personal shares back into the business. Delivering incredible ad campaigns is part of his job but so is finding new talent. Don is a great teacher and is willing to take risks sometimes in defiance of his clients to uphold his beliefs. Some client’s can deal with this approach and eventually warm up to him and sometimes it is costly. At the end of the day he is all about maintaining high brand quality and increasing market share. Like White, Draper does whatever is needed to sway clients and colleagues to his way of thinking. From late night meetings to private engagements after-work, he makes clients the top priority.
In terms of marketing, Draper shines. Draper follows the rule that every client is unique and is driven by his need for approval. He is known for his creative ways to solve problems but also is successful at cleaning up problems with clients; he is a fixer. One of his best qualities is leadership. He is a born leader and able to motivate employees to work hard finding like-minded talent whom is also driven by their urge for approval. Working for more than a paycheck, Draper ensures that he and his team does not reveal anything to a client until they are proud of it and believe in their clear message. The job is to present marketing to clients that fits on a magazine page, poster, billboard, or sometimes TV ad that has a clear easy-to-understand message that often relates on an emotional level to customers.
Don knows the science of marketing without knowing the science behind it. He has intuition that allows him to understand customers. When going after a client, he learns all that he can from the owner to find their goals and message and see who their customer is. He is a master of networking and connecting with people. Not forgetting gifts, pampering them, and sometimes cuddling up a little too much. Understanding demographics and combining that with messages that connect with users textually, visually, emotionally, & sometimes spiritually let Draper have successful campaigns. According to The Ohio State University, customers retain 10% of textual information after three days and you can increase retention to 65% by adding visuals.
Between these two highly successful businessmen there is a lot to learn when looking into how they became such great leaders. Through hard work, managing people, networking, acquiring talent, focusing on yours and their skills, and sticking to a clear message you can also be successful; hopefully not quite like them in some ways but enough to help pay the bills and then some.